U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Doran, a real estate developer, brought his campaign to the Brainerd lakes area this past weekend, attending parades in Brainerd, Pequot Lakes and Nisswa.
Making his first run for public office, Doran said he reserves the right to challenge the candidate who is eventually endorsed by the DFL convention in the DFL primary. He has not decided whether he will seriously seek the endorsement.
Kelly Doran says he's a centrist Democrat.
"I was fed up with what's going on in Washington," he said last week, explaining his campaign bid. "We continue to borrow money from our children in order to pay our debts today."
Doran, who describes himself as a centrist Democrat, said his inexperience in politics could play to his advantage.
He objects to President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, claiming they're responsible for much of the increasing federal deficit.
"A big chunk of it is tax cuts given to the top 1 percent -- and I' m one of them and it's wrong," he said. "The average taxpayer got a $100 to $200 tax break. I got $750,000 last year.
"People like me, in the top 1 percent, should be paying back some of the benefits that we've received," he said.
Doran said he'd roll back those tax cuts, saying that regardless of income all Americans should be pulling together.
The solution to the Social Security shortfall could be solved by raising the cap on what income level is subject to Social Security, Doran said. Currently, the first $90,000 of wages is subject to the tax, he said. He said the president wants to cut the younger workers' benefits while adding trillions of dollars to the national debt.
He said he would back funding for the Veteran's Administration, predicting there will be a huge influx of veterans from the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. needs to complete its mission in Iraq, Doran said, but the Bush administration hasn't listened to the military officials who have said the U.S. had enough resources to win the war but not enough to win the peace.
"It's one of the most mismanaged foreign policy debacles," he said of the Iraq war.
Doran, 47, is president of the Robert Muir Co. He and his partner, Robert Muir, have developed and own more than three million square feet of shopping centers in Minnesota. The firm has nearly $100 million in revenues.
Noting that he was raised by a single mother in a Minneapolis family that wasn't wealthy and then put himself through college, Doran said he doesn't think his current wealth will put off voters.
"You can't buy a (political) race," he said. "All you can do is try to express your viewpoints."
Doran graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1981 and received a master's in business administration from the university's Carlson School of Business in 1982.
He and his wife, Maria, the general counsel for the John Muir Co., live in Eden Prairie with their 4-year-old daughter, Sydney; Maria's daughter, Ali, 13; and Kelly's sons, Evan 16, and Kramer, 12.
The candidate called for a plan for long-term solvency of the Social Security system and for pension reform in situations where corporate mismanagement cause workers to lose their pensions.
MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5860.
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